Poison Sweethearts (2008) – By Brian Morton

 I’m a huge fan of exploitation movies. I’m not sure why, probably because when I was growing up, in the 70s, the newspaper’s movie section was always filled with these really cool ads for the latest exploitation movie to come around, with that ‘No One Under 17 Admitted’ logo at the bottom. Well, we all know that the forbidden sweets are always the sweetest, so those were the movies that I longed to see from a very young age. And, when I finally reached that magical age, I was at the movies every weekend, usually seeing some movie that no one else wanted to see. That’s how my love for this genre grew. Well, a new movie from Tempe Video harkens back to those days when women were second class citizens, and they were burning their bras to protest it!

It’s called Poison Sweethearts and it’s really a series of short stories about women in trouble. There’s the hooker who takes revenge, there’s the housewife who’s fed up, there’s the quiet reclusive girl who’s not going to be abused in her search for love. All filmed in a 70s style, with short ‘informational’ footage between each story explaining why the female brain is different and what us males should watch out for in this ‘dangerous’ female behavior. It’s really a hoot! Directed by The Campbell Brothers, and filmed largely in Cleveland, Poison Sweethearts is a strange valentine to the city when it was on the decline. Does anyone remember ‘the mistake by the lake’? Well, the last time I was in Cleveland I don’t remember it being this rough, but then I was doing the tourist thing, so I can’t be a fair judge. That being said, there might not be a more perfect backdrop for an exploitation movie than the Cleveland of that bygone era. And the Campbell Brothers use it to their advantage, with plenty of abandoned buildings and factories to be seen. The stories here are exactly what you’d expect from the genre, women who turn (sometimes with good reason, sometimes with very little) on men in vicious ways. The most notable is the housewife who makes a nice list of things to do while her husband is out earning a living, the last item on the list is, of course, kill my husband.

Poison Sweethearts is definitely a love song to an entire genre of film, it looks like an exploitation movie (although here I’m sure that it’s done intentionally, not accidentally as the originals were), the acting is like an exploitation movie and the stories are exactly what you probably would have seen on 42nd Street at a grindhouse in the 70s! It’s the perfect homage to the era. I’m giving Poison Sweethearts three and a half out of four cigars, it’s not for everyone, but, if you love the exploitation genre, this will make you feel all warm inside…unless that’s just a woman with a knife planted there. You can check out this cool genre movie for yourself by heading over to the Tempe Video web site. So, until next time, when I’ll be keeping a close eye on my wife, just in case she decides to turn on me, remember that the best movies are bad movies.